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Rangoon Post, News Journal Now Is O
- Subject: Rangoon Post, News Journal Now Is O
- From: waterly@xxxxxxxxx
- Date: Sat, 19 Apr 1997 08:24:00
Subject: Rangoon Post, News Journal Now Is Out Here In U.S.
The Rangoon Post, an independent monthly news journal, not-for-profit, is
published in the United States by young Burmese and Americans to inform
update situations of Burma and is impartially covered news, events, and
comments from news agencies, freelance reporters, and commentators all over
the world. More than 150 publications are sent to U.S. senators and
congressmen, officials from State Department and National Security Council,
diplomats from Asia and European countries, individuals, and organizations.
To receive the post, please return the following form with the annual postal
service?s fees: $20.00 in U.S. and $30.00 out of the U.S..
News, press releases, pictures, business and personal advertisements,
announcements, comments, and essays are ubiquitously welcomed.
Nyi Nyi Lwin
Publication Manager: Shwe Sin Tun
Proff Reader: Yin Aye
Address: 13113 TwinBrook Pkwy #104
Rockville, MD 20851
The Rangoon Post
Monthly News Journal. U.S.A April 30, 1997, Vol.1 No.1
Headline News Section
Bomb Killed General's Daughter(Rangoon, April 6, 1997-RP) A bomb went off
in Lt. Gen. Tin Oo's resident in Rangoon and killed his daughter Cho Lei Oo,
34, on Sunday, April 6, 1997. Later authority said the bomb was a percale
bomb and airmailed from Japan. The authority also accused that the bomb was
related to anti-SLORC groups in Japan.
Pro-democracy groups in Japan denied and said the allegation was a baseless
lie. A joint statement said it was very difficult to pass such an explosive
bomb through security check points in both Burma and Japan. The statement,
under signed by Democratic Burmese Student Organization (DBSO-Japan),
National League for Democracy(NLD-liberated area), Burma Youth Volunteer
Association(BYVA), and 88 Group said "It is very clear that the recent blast
is related to that power struggle." All pro-democracy organizations,
including National Coalition Government of Union of Burma (NCGUB), believe
the explosion was related to the SLORC's internal problem.
Japanese foreign ministry requested Burmese authority to hand a specific
detail of the bomb related to Japan. But the authority has not yet given the
detail of the explosion. Diplomats in Rangoon suggested that the blast might
be planted by Muslim extremists.
Buddhists monks vandalized several mosques in Mandalay and Rangoon last
month when they heard a rumor in which a Buddhist girl in Mandalay was
raped by a Muslim businessman.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi Appeals
(Geneva, April 9,1997,RP) A video tape of an interview with Daw Aung San
Suu Kyi was smuggled from Burma, and the tape was shown in Geneva during a
break in the annual meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Commission.
The 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner and national leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
in the tape said " We need maximum attention on what is happening'' to the
National League for Democracy (NLD), Suu Kyi said, "because it is an
indication of how far the authorities are prepared to go to prevent
democracy from taking root in Burma.''
NLD won 82 per cent of preliminary seats in 1990 national election, but the
military regime known as SLORC refused to honor the result. Instead, the
regime is increasingly cracking down on NLD.
In May 1996, more than 600 elected representatives and members from NLD
were arrested. Some were sentenced to 7 and 15 years imprisonment. A
peaceful weekly gathering in front of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's resident in
Rangoon was ended up last year. U Win Htain, was also arrested and sent to
The NLD now needs a maximum support from international community and
overseas Burmese to maintain root of democracy in Burma.
(Rangoon, March 30, 1997,RP) A group of 100-young-monks marched directly to
a mosque used by Indonesia Embassy's staffs in Rangoon on March 25, 1997 and
threw stones into the mosque. Hundreds of city's residents witnessed the
attack. Later army trucks arrived and rounded up the monks near the mosque.
Some eyewitnesses said the attackers were professional soldiers, fake monks.
Moslem Liberation Organization of Burma (MLOB) on March 26 issued a
statement and said the attackers were from the junta. The organization urged
Moslem nations of the seven-member ASEAN to do what they could to help after
recent clashes between Buddhists and Moslems in Burma. The MLOB also stated
that the Buddhist-Muslim unrest was triggered by the SLORC. But the generals
accused that the unrest was created by oppositions. State Law and Order
Restoration Council's (SLORC) second secretary Gen. Tin Oo was cited as
saying in the New Light of Myanmar that "big foreign nations and
organizations" backed opposition and underground elements were behind the
unrest. The religion minister Gen. Myo Nyunt also accused that the
oppositions just created a problem that could slower Burma entry into
Association of South East Asian Nation (ASEAN). He also said that ASEAN's
members, Indonesia and Malaysia, are primarily Muslim nations.
According to a statement released by National Coalition Government of Union
of Burma (NCGUB) on March 25, 1997, the unrest was planed by the SLORC. It
said that the SLORC stole gold and other valuable properties from Buddha
images in Mandalay. After monks protested the SLORC to investigate the lost
of the properties, the SLORC created a make up story of an attempted rape by
Moslem men. Some monks became angry and vandalized several mosques. Mandalay
imposed a curfew on March 16. Two days later, the conflict was spread across
other cities, including Rangoon.
All Burma Young Monks Union (ABYMU) based in Thai-Burma border released a
statement and said that the Buddhist monks begun demonstrations after they
learned a death of 16 monks in prison. But the regime denied the reported
The SLORC on March 26 sent out a statement known as "Information Sheet" and
said recent religious unrest affecting two cities were under control. The
statement said ''agitators may have targeted and local authorities had taken
preventive measures". It also stated that the unrest was politically motivated.
In 1988, during the pro-democracy movements, monks led the people after the
students. They occupied government's buildings. They also took security duty
for cities and townships. When the SLORC took over power on September 18,
many monks were killed by the gunshots. Some left country and set up an
organization known as ABYMU in Thai-Burma border.
Burma's population is 85 per cent Buddhist and 3.9 per cent Muslim. There
are 500,000 monks members all over Burma, larger than the military
personals. More than 250.000 monks are residing in Mandalay alone, half of
the total monks.
The SLORC has so far used the monks for political purposes because the
monks' comment is widely accepted in Burma. The junta's generals'
including Gen. Than Shwe, regularly visit to tempers and show how they
respect the monks. Their visits are widely published in the state-owned news
papers. The generals also influence the respectful monks not to criticize
the regime and not to support democratic forces, especially Daw Aung San
Suu Kyi. The generals donated larger amount of money, buildings, color
T.Vs., and Motorola phones. However, young monks are unhappy with the
SLORC's present position, and they want democratic reform.
EU Cancels Burmese Trade
(The New York Times, March 25, 1997) The European Union stripped Myanmar of
special trading privileges today because of reports that it uses forced
labor to increase exports. The decision was made at a meeting of the
15-nation bloc's foreign ministers, following advice from the European
Commission, which investigated the allegations by human rights groups. The
commission said that Burmese officials failed to cooperate with the
investigation. Under the decision, Myanmar, formerly Burma, will no longer
be eligible for trade benefits on agricultural and industrial products.
Ambassador U Tin Win in Florida
(Florida,March 9, 1997,RP) National Movement Committee of Burma in Florida
held an informal meeting with U Tin Win in Florida on March 9, 1997. During
the meeting both side discussed human rights abuses and economic situations.
They also discussed the army power sharing proposal through the national
Dr. Phay Than Maung criticized Tin Win in the meeting that 30 per cent of
army power sharing in parliament is unfair and undemocratic. He also said
the army now becomes a thief, a rapist, and a robber instead of protecting
its master, people of Burma.
The committee also delivered a letter to Gen. Than Shwe via U Tin Win, but U
Tin Win refused the letter to take and said Burma has no political problem.
In the letter the committee demands the SLORC to transfer power to the
Within a week, young Burmese and students on Internet sounded up and
criticized U Tin Win collecting illegal tax from Burmese in the United
States. The Internet said U Tin Win is a Mafia and tried to break Burmese
community in U.S.. However, U Thaung, former editor of The Mirror, disagreed
and hit back in the Internet. He said the initiation of the meeting with U
Tin Win will bring democracy to Burma in the future.
Kyaw Zay Ya of Indiana University rewrote U Thaung and said the SLORC has
first to hold dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and democratic forces,
including ethnic leaders. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been calling for dialogue
since 1988. But the SLORC refused to talk to her. Instead, the SLORC cracked
down on the democratic forces.
Waterly@xxxxxxxxx drew an outline for Tin Win regarding future talks with
Burmese community. The outline said Tin Win is a paper tiger and has been
given no authority to carry people's voice and demand from U.S. to his
regime in Rangoon. Therefore, only lower level of representations from the
community are available to talk with Tin Win under the tax cut agenda. A
student in Texas later reported that U Tin Win canceled a meeting with a
Burmese community in Houston on Saturday, April 19, 1997.
With very much uncertified Tin Win's 30 per cent tax policy ($70 for a
month), more and more young Burmese are organizing to boycott the tax
policy. They said, "we will no longer pay $70 for a month to U Tin Win. "It
is illegal and we are seeking to sue U Tin Win collecting the illegal tax
from us," they said. They also said they have no money to pay U Tin Win
because they pay federal tax, state tax, and county tax in the United States.
Burma Warns New Year Festival
(Rangoon, April 6, 1997,AP) The military government warned Burmese citizens
Sunday to refrain from political agitation and unrest during the upcoming
New Year's festival, and officials have been told to maintain a high
security alert. The warnings indicated worries that disturbances could break
out during the festivities, which culminate April 17 and are celebrated in
large part by rowdy citizens dousing each other with water. This year's
celebrations follow a major military offensive against ethnic Karen rebels
on the eastern border and violence by Buddhist monks against minority
Muslims in several cities. A bomb blasted in Gen. Tin Oo's house and killed
his daughter on April 6.
ASEAN to Discuss Burma Membership
(AP April 10, 1997, Kuala Lumpur) Foreign ministers from the Association of
Southeast Asian Nations will meet next month to discuss admitting Burma,
Malaysia said on Thursday.
ASEAN has indicated it would make Burma, Cambodia and Laos members this
year, but critics want Burma kept out because of its military regime's
mistreatment of pro-democracy activists.
The meeting in May also will make preparations for the annual ASEAN
conference in September and celebrations of the group's 30th anniversary
this year, Malaysian Foreign Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said. The
current ASEAN members Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei,
Singapore and Malaysia have refused to isolate Burma, instead pursuing
closer business and political ties.
Prime Minister Dr. Sein Win In Geneva
(Switzerland, April 9,1997,RP) Dr. Sein Win was in Geneva on April 9, 1997
to testify the human rights violations by the military junta.
He said "I am Dr. Sein Win, an elected representative of the 1990 general
election from the Paukkhaung constituency in Burma. First of all, I am
disappointed to know that the Special
Rapporteur on Burma has not been allowed to visit Burma to perform his
mandate given by the 52nd Session of the UN Commission on Human Rights.
SLORC's failure to comply with the terms of successive UN resolutions and
its denial to allow the Special Rapporteur and the Envoy of the UN
Secretary-General to visit Burma are clear violations of articles 55 and 56
of the UN Charter in which member states pledge themselves to take joint and
separate action to promote universal respect for, and observance of, human
rights and fundamental freedoms for all."
"The situation of human rights in Burma is moving from bad to worse. The
rights of the people, especially elected representatives and supporters of
the National League for Democracy, to freely participate in the political
process have been severely restricted by unjust laws and orders," he said.
He went on, "Since May, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has again been put under
virtual house arrest.""On November 9th of last year, she (Daw Aung San Suu
Kyi) was physically attacked by a group of about 200 young men from the
Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA), a SLORC-organized youth
group. This is SLORC-orchestrated, state-sanctioned terrorism," he said. "
International, Local, and Business News Section
ooooOooooThai Activists Pan Burma Gas
(Bangkok, April 03, 1997,AFP) Thailand is turning a blind eye to human
rights abuses in Burma in the drive to satisfy national energy demands,
Thai opponents of a controversial gas pipeline project said on Thursday.
Activists alleged that the Burmese military is using forced civilian labor
to support construction of the Yadana pipeline while the Thai government
looks the other way.
"The pipeline will help Thailand get cheap energy at the expense of Burmese
people and ethnic minorities," Sulak Sivaraksa, a prominent social critic,
told a meeting at Bangkok's Thammasat University.
"Our government has made a contract with an illegitimate government, not the
elected government of (pro-democrat leader) Aung San Suu Kyi ... The money
we pay them is only used for arms, to kill and harm their own people," said
Sulak. The state-owned Petroleum Authority of Thailand (PTT) is contracted
to buy natural gas from Burma's Yadana field in the Gulf of Martaban from
Critics contend that Burman and Mon villagers have been forcibly recruited
to build nearby roads and a railway near the pipeline, being developed by
Burma with Total of France and US-based Unocal.
"I think that decisionmakers (in Thailand) know that violations are taking
place," said Laddawan Tantiuitayapitak of the Thai Action Committee for
Democracy in Burma (TACDB).
"They say that human rights has nothing to do with buying gas. That's why
we speak out."
Human rights workers, environmentalists and citizens groups from
Kanchanaburi province on the pipeline route in Thailand joined Thursday's
meeting, in a bid to raise Thai public awareness of its impact on both sides
of the border.
"People get the impression its good for national development but its
damaging both for the Burmese people and Thais in Kanchanaburi," said Laddawan.
Late last month, Thailand's National Environment Board, chaired by Premier
Chaowalit Yongchaiyudh gave the green light for pipeline construction to
begin on the Thai side of the border, in the face of environmentalists'
objections and local safety concerns.
Preparations for laying the pipeline are already on track in
environmentally "unsensitive" areas of the route, according to PTT officials.
Burma Approves $ 2.81 BLN
(Bangkok,April 4, 1997, Reuters) Burma said on Friday it approved $ 2.81
billion in foreign investment projects during the fiscal year ended March
31, 1997, against $ 668.2 million a year ago and $ 1.35 billion during 1994/95.
The Burmese Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development said
proposed direct foreign investment from late 1988 to end-March this year
totaled $ 6.05 billion in 247 projects. Of this total, $ 2.13 billion or 34
projects were in the petroleum and natural gas sector and $ 1.12 billion or
8 projects in manufacturing.
Unocal Corp, Total, Texaco Inc. and Atlantic Richfield Co. are major foreign
oil companies currently developing joint venture offshore gas fields in Burma.
Other industries attracting major foreign investment in the period from 1988
until end-March were real estate, accounting for $ 874.9 million in 14
projects and hotels and tourism, $ 762.6 million in 39 projects.
A national planning ministry official estimated that about 60 percent of
planned foreign investment projects were implemented
Burma and Cambodia Joint Venture Bank
(Bangkok, April 04, 1997,AFP) Burma's government-owned Myanmar Livestock
and Fisheries Development Bank Ltd. and Cambodia's Global Commercial Bank
have agreed to set up a joint venture bank in Rangoon, official Burmese
media reported Friday.
The signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding was held at a Rangoon
hotel and presided over by Burmese Commerce Minister Lieutenant General Tun
Kyi, the New Light of Myanmar newspaper said.
It added the joint venture bank would provide support for trade and
investment between the two countries.
Divestment in Myanmar
(Los Angeles Times, April 11, 1997) Bottom Line: Human rights groups upset
with Myanmar (formerly Burma) are pushing legislation that would prohibit
the state from purchasing goods or services from any company doing business
with the country.
Chances: The bill faces heavy opposition from oil interests and business
advocates, but has the support of at least one key panel, the Assembly's
International Trade and Development Committee.
Next Step: The bill is scheduled for an April 14 hearing before the
International Trade and Development Committee. Details: AB 888 author Dion
Aroner (D-Berkeley) can be reached at (916) 445-7554.
Taiwan to Set Up Trade Office in Burma
(Taiwan, April 10, 1997, AP) Taiwan said Thursday it will set up a trade
office in Burma this year despite Rangoon's close ties with Taiwan's
The Rangoon office will be set up via Taiwan's trade branch in Jakarta to
skirt a Burmese ban on direct trade and investment with Taiwan, said Ricky
Kao, secretary-general of the quasi-government China External Trade
Development Council. The move is part of Taiwan's efforts to promote trade
with Southeast Asian countries, Kao said.
Attracted by Burma's rich natural resources and cheap labor, about 200
Taiwanese companies have invested in textiles, farming, jewelry and other
businesses there, officials said.
Two Taiwanese-Burmese joint venture banks have been set up to smooth trade
transactions, they said. Last year, Taiwan's trade with Burma, conducted
mainly through Singapore,amounted to U.S. $ 68 million, but officials expect
the trade volume to grow significantly this year.
Gen. Colin Powell Comments on Burma
(New York, April 10, 1997, The News and Observer,) Forty years after his
graduation, retired Gen. Colin Powell is having a new center named for him
at the City College of New York. The Colin L. Powell Center for Public
Policy Study, which will study policy issues affecting New York City, will
open at the college this fall. Powell released a statement saying he was
"deeply honored." Steve Allen, Jayne Meadows, Carl Reiner and seven other
prominent American entertainers have appealed to Burma's military
government to free a Burmese comedian imprisoned for mocking the regime. In
a letter to Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt, head of military intelligence, the
entertainers asked for the release of Par Par Lay. The comedian was part of
a musical troupe that performed at the Rangoon home of Aung San Suu Kyi,
winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize for her nonviolent campaign for
democracy. A contraband videotape of the performance, widely circulated in
Burma, shows him satirizing the ruling State Law and Order Restoration
Council. He was sentenced to seven years' hard labor for "spreading false news."
Connecticut Committee Oks Burma
(Hartford, April 1, 1997, Reuters) A Connecticut legislative committee on
Tuesday approved a bill that would prohibit the state from purchasing goods
and services from companies doing business in Burma. The measure, introduced
by Democratic Rep. Jessie Stratton, is similar to a bill adopted by
Massachusetts last year and signed into law by Governor William Weld.
"This bill represents a strong stand against repression and for human
rights," Stratton said. "The legislation would end any support Connecticut
provides through its purchasing policies for Burma's totalitarian regime."
Among the U.S. companies that have pulled out of Burma are Eastman-Kodak,
Hewlett-Packard Co , Apple Computer Inc and Eddie Bauer. On the federal
level, several U.S. senators have urged President Bill Clinton to impose
sanctions on Burma authorized by Congress.
Unocal Pleas on the Law Suit
(California, April 3, 1997,The Nation) A US federal court in Los Angeles
last week accepted a precedent-setting case brought by Burmese victims of
alleged human rights abuses against oil giants Total and Unocal, the
contractors for the Yadana gas pipeline, and two Unocal executives.
The court rejected a motion by Unocal to dismiss the case, which was filed
on Oct 3 last year. Unocal had argued the matter was outside the
jurisdiction of the US court.
US District Court Judge Richard A Paez on March 25 signed a 38-page order
accepting the complaint, submitted by a group of 15 Burmese plaintiffs.
The plaintiffs are seeking a court injunction ordering the multinational oil
corporations to stop their activities and to pay compensation for alleged
international human rights abuses that occurred as a result of the
construction of the US$1.2 billion (Bt31.2 billion) Yadana natural gas
In particular, the plaintiffs charge the ruling Burmese State Law and Order
Restoration Council (Slorc), the state-owned Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise
(MOGE), the two oil companies and the two executives with legal
responsibility for violations of international human rights.
It accuses them of using forced labor in connection with the construction of
the pipeline and committing crimes against humanity, torture including rape,
and unlawful conspiracy.
Paez dismissed the complaint against Slorc and MOGE on the grounds that they
were entitled to sovereign immunity, but he still held them to be
''indispensable parties" to the proceedings, ''because complete relief may
be accorded among the remaining parties in their absence".
Jurisdiction over the plaintiffs' claims against the remaining defendants
the French oil firm Total, the American petrol. company Unocal, Unocal
president John Imle, and Roger C Beach, chairman and chief executive officer
of Unocal was granted under the 1792 Alien Tort Claims Act.
The 200-year-old law allows a lawsuit against multinational companies in US
courts for actions and activities outside the US which violate international
The plaintiffs victims of rape, forced labor, forced relocation, assaults,
and the death of family members are represented by a coalition of human
rights organizations and private attorneys including EarthRights
International, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), and the law
office of Hadsell and Stormer, etc. The victims are joined by Louisa
Benson, a representative of the ethnic guerrilla Karen National Union and
now a California taxpayer, who is suing the partners in the Yadana
consortium for unfair business practice.
In separate interviews in Bangkok and by telephone from the United States,
EarthRights and CCR lawyers said the March 25 court decision was crucial to
their attempts to bring the case against Slorc, MOGE and its foreign oil
According to Katherine Redford and Tyler Giannini of EarthRigths and Jennie
Green, a CCR staff attorney, the court's decision to grant jurisdiction over
Total and Unocal set a ''significant" or ''ground-breaking" precedent, as it
allowed victims the right to sue multinational corporations for violations
of international human rights law. The 1792 tort act had previously been
applied only to environmental matters.
Editorial and Commentary Section
Season Ripples With Riots and Revolutions "Summer"
By Aung San Suu Kyi.
(Mainichi Daily News, April 7, 1997) Summer in Burma is the months of March
and April, when the temperature creeps up steadily, sapping strength and
snapping tempers. The air is redolent with the scent of jasmines and mango
trees begin to put forth tiny green fruit, hard and sour, best eaten with a
dip of salty fish sauce and hot powdered chillies. Summer is also the time
when we start preparing for our New Year which takes place in mid-April and
those who believe in astrology, which is to say the majority of the Burmese
people, study predictions for the coming 12 months.
Last year, I wrote of the way in which the authorities took steps to
prevent the National League for Democracy (NLD) from carrying out Buddhist
ceremonies in accordance with our New Year traditions. The result was that
a ceremony for paying respect to elders planned by members of our party had
to take place in the middle of the street near a cross roads. Writing of
this episode I concluded that "it seemed like an omen that the NLD would not
lack public attention during the coming year." Looking back, this remark
seems remarkably prophetic, a prediction that would do any astrologer
credit. Over the past year we have received an inordinate amount of
attention from the authorities as well as from the media and the public.
Hardly a day goes by without an article or two in the state-controlled
newspapers vilifying me or other leaders of the NLD or the supposed
activities of the party. Every time there is a sign of public unrest or
opposition to the military government, or a controversial incident, or an
undesirable situation of any kind, it is promptly attributed by the
authorities to the NLD. Rising prices, student demonstrations, a bomb going
off in the inner sanctum of a sacred relic, communal conflict, even an
attack on NLD leaders by hooligans obviously operating in collaboration with
official security forces, the authorities do not hesitate to point an
insinuating finger at our party. The government either has an extremely
high regard for our abilities or has ceased to be concerned with the truth
in its obsessive desire to attack the democratic opposition.
Summer in Burma is not a gentle season of balmy breezes and soft sunshine.
It is a harsh season when the heat beats down on a drained and desiccated
land. It is also a season for riots and revolutions, perhaps because
people's tolerance wears thin when the temperature starts to soar.
And this makes it the season for focusing on the NLD. The most significant
events this summer so far have taken place in Mandalay. Burma is a land of
rumor. A country where there is no freedom of expression becomes a land of
rumor, a society where the merest wisp of what appears to be news of
national importance is grasped with desperation by a people starved of
information. Sometimes there is little substance to the whispered stories
and the tea shop talk that spread around town as quickly as one acquaintance
can catch the eye and capture the ear of another. But sometimes there is
solid fact behind what at first appears to be just a piece of frothy gossip.
The first intimation that something was amiss in the last bastion of the
Burmese monarchy came when rumors of strange happenings at the Mahamyatmuni
Shrine began to trickle down to Rangoon. It was said that the breast of the
sacred image had been riven in two. While people were still debating on
such a possibility and the implications of so distressing an omen, word came
out that the monks of Mandalay were making an enquiry into a large crack
--some said a gaping hole -- that had appeared in the thick gold with which
devotees had encrusted the image over the centuries. Fast on the heels of
the news about the enquiry we heard that monks in Mandalay had ransacked
mosques because a Buddhist girl was assaulted by a Muslim man.
Traditionally, Buddhists and Muslims in Mandalay have maintained harmonious
relations and this sudden eruption of hostilities was a surprise to many.
But it was no surprise when we heard there had been attempts by the
authorities to place the communal tensions at the door of the NLD.
According to an official Information Sheet, "it is very much regretful to
learn that some elements who are bent on creating unrest in the country
exploited the situation and managed to agitate some of the Buddhist
religious communities in Mandalay to attack Muslim communities and some
mosques. On the surface, it seems like a religious clash but it is actually
very much politically motivated." I quite agree that the communal conflicts
were probably orchestrated by those with political motives of some kind but
I can say with absolute confidence and a clean conscience that the NLD has
nothing to do with dirty politics of that ilk.
Although generally referred to as "the opposition," the NLD is the party
that has received the mandate of the people of Burma through free and fair
elections, and we have a status to uphold as well as a responsibility to
resist injustice and tyranny and all moves aimed at obstructing a strong
united democratic movement.
Summer is a season when the spirit of resistance seems to revive in the
full glare of the sun. Resistance ... a term evocative of grit and
determination, risk and sacrifice. Every society which has felt the rough
yoke of injustice will understand the need to cultivate that part of human
nature that refused to accept meekly whatever oppressors and fate might
decide to dole out.
27 March 1945 was the day when Burma rose up in resistance against fascist
military rule. This year once again we celebrated the spirit of justified
resistance by recalling the events of more than half a century ago when the
people of our country decided unitedly that it was time to put an end of a
cruel, unjust system. Among the members of the NLD today, there are
veterans of the independence movement, people who entered politics as young
students demonstrating against colonial rule and who went on to fight for
freedom enter on the civilian front or as soldiers in the Burma Independence
Army of the Patriotic Burmese Forces, precursors of the present day armed
forces of Burma. That these men, no longer young but still firm of purpose,
are with us today in the struggle to gain for our people the full rights due
to citizens of an independent nation is a matter of great pride for our
party and a source of inspiration for our people. But it is also a matter
of shame for our country that there is still a need for the generation that
fought for independence to continue to labor for the nation of their dreams.
At this time of their lives they should have the right to look back on their
achievements with calm satisfaction as they watch their grandchildren grow
to adulthood in an ordered, prosperous society.
Political resistance has become so very much a part of our everyday
existence that on summer nights while I like awake waiting for the cool
breeze to come up from the lake, I sometimes wonder what it would be like
for members of the NLD once there is no longer a need to exercise the spirit
of resistance with grinding perseverance. Will they be completely taken up
with the task of reconciliation and reconstruction? or will they suddenly
feel the vacuum of a lack of dangerous challenge and acquire a burning
desire to conquer unscaled mountain peaks and plumb unexplored ocean depths
to mop their excess energy? After so many years of constant peril, it would
be a pleasure to see our people indulging in such relatively safe activities.
AP: Associated Press
AFP: Agence France Presses
RP: The Rangoon Post Monthly News Journal
ABSDF: All Burma Students Democratic Front
DBSO: Democratic Burmese Students Organization
NCGUB: National Coalition Government of Union of Burma
NLD: National League for Democracy
SLORC: State Law and Order Restoration Council